Friday, September 30, 2011

Apple "Pizza" and Some Quiet Time you hear that? Oh yeah, that's the sound of a house with no hubby and no kids. So peaceful, I can actually hear the t.v. (The People's Court, actually - it's my guilty pleasure. I watch it sometimes and think, really...Who would think it's okay to leave your stuff in an apartment for 6 months after you move out and think they would just hold it for you? I'm really amazed).
Anyway, now that I have some quiet time (during which I should be grading papers, writing lesson plans, blah, blah, blah), I decided to share the snack we made today. We call them apple pizzas and the kids really think they're great. Best of all, they are really easy to make. Now, before I begin, let me say that I took pictures of each step for you and they were beautiful. But, I was using a borrowed camera and when I went to load the pictures, I kept getting a message that "the device malfunctioned" and they would not download. I had another (borrowed) camera, but the batteries were dead in that one. Yeah, I're saying, "Duh, Kristy...switch the batteries!" but, in my Friday afternoon haze, that didn't occur to me until after the last apple pizza was eaten. So, alas, no pictures. But I'm sure that you guys are great at creating mental images, so here you go!
You'll need canned biscuits, apples, cinnamon sugar and butter. Have each child flatten his/her biscuit. Then, add diced apples and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them. Put a little bit of butter on top and put them in a toaster oven until the biscuits turn golden brown. Apples aren't really my favorite, but these really aren't bad. I really wish I had pictures for you, sorry! I should be able to get my new camera next payday - I can't wait!
Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to link up at our Welcome Fall Linky Party for extra entries in our giveaway!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My First Giveaway

Ok, so I was going to wait until I reached 100 followers for my first giveaway, but I really couldn't wait.  Yeah, I know - I'm not good at waiting for anything.  I don't do my Christmas shopping early because I just end up giving the gifts before Christmas.  The only thing I really can wait on is lesson plans (which are usually done Sunday night in front of the tv while watching CSI Miami). Ok, focus Kristy...

So I was so excited to see that I reached 90 followers, I decided to go ahead and have a giveaway.  I thought and thought about what to give away and finally decided that I would give away a $20 gift certificate.  To where, you ask?  Well, that's up to you!!!  The fun part of this giveaway is that you get to choose where your gift certificate comes from.  Dollar Tree, Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Red Lobster...anywhere that I can buy a gift certificate from (either in person or online), you will get it.  So if you'd like to shop at Target's Dollar spot - done!  Wanna go out to dinner at Chili's - done!  Need bulletin boards from Carson Dellosa - done!  Been eyeing a cute unit on TpT - done!

For each of the items below, you will earn one entry:
    -Become a follower and leave a comment (or leave a comment letting me know you are one already)
    -Leave a comment and let me know what gift certificate you would like
    - Add a link to my Welcome Fall Linky Party (2 entries for each link - just leave 2 comments saying "I linked up!"  If you've already linked up, thanks!  Just leave your comments)

Easy, huh?  Just be sure to spread the word - I'll draw a name by random number generator on Tuesday, October 4th at 4 p.m. (since 4 is my favorite number).  Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Patterns

Since Monday was Johnny Appleseed's birthday, we've been doing apple activities all week.  To give my kids some practice with patterns, I made this cute apple patterning sheet.  I put small die cut apples in my math station and let the kids use those to make their patterns.  They can then color the apples on the sheet to match their pattern.  Once I made this sheet, though, I thought that they could also just glue the small apples on the sheet if they would rather do that than color.  Either way, I hope you can use this!

My Apple Patterns

Check back tomorrow and tell your friends - I feel a giveaway coming on...

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Rough Day and a Smile

So today was one of THOSE days, you know the ones - nothing goes right, the kids are playing during workstation know.  So I came home feeling sad and ready to cry when I checked my blog and discovered that Kylie from Down Under Teacher gave me a Versatile Blogger award!!!!! I know it's not like an Academy Award or anything, but I am sooo excited!!!!  I mean, for a little blog like mine to be recognized just made my day!  Thank you, Kylie for passing this award to me - you made a rough day better!  You guys need to go check out her blog - it's great!

Down Under Teacher
As you probably know, to accept the award you should follow these rules: 
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.
So, 7 things about me, hmmmm....let's see:
1. I love to bake (and I'm pretty good at it), but I hate to cook (and no, I'm not very good at it).
2.  I collect cookbooks which my husband thinks is pretty funny (see #1).
3.  I love old movies and TV shows (I"m telling you, no one can beat me at Brady Bunch trivia).
4.  I just went to my first Women of Joy conference last weekend.  If you've never been, you need to go to one - it was an amazing weekend!
5.  I am a book junkie (although I never really have time to read). is my friend!  ;0)
6.  I am a piler and a "put"-er downer.  I really want to be one of those really organized people who put everything away in the perfect place, but I'm just not that person.  I've tried, but most of the time I'll have something in my hand and be headed to put it away, but someone will stop me and, before I know it, it's not in my hand anymore - I've put it down somewhere (and usually don't know where).  Anyone else know what I mean?
7.  I love to visit Savannah, Georgia.  My husband and I visited for our 10th anniversary and fell in love with the historic district.  We've gone back every year since.

Now I get to pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs.   Here are some of my faves:

Fun in First



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Johnny Appleseed

Since Monday is Johnny Appleseed's birthday, I was trying to come up with some new ways to teach about this famous American figure. We always read lots of stories about Johnny like these:


This year, I thought after reading some stories, we would fill out a chart to map our learning.  I created these labels to use to make a thinking map:

Johnny Appleseed Think Map Labels

I'm thinking that once it's done, it'll look something like this:
Johnny Appleseed Think Map Example

I hope this is something that you can use in your class!  At the end of our study, we always watch the Disney version of the Johnny Appleseed story.  You can watch it on Youtube if you don't have the video.  Here's the link to parts one and two:
Johnny Appleseed Part 1

Johnny Appleseed Part 2

So, what cool things do you do to teach Johnny Appleseed in your class?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Scarecrow pictures

Ok, ok, so I know I'm a little late with these, but if you only knew the camera issues I've had lately...Anyway, here are the cute scarecrows we made to send to our penpals in Kansas. They were so cute, we made another set to hang in the hallway!

I love to make these not only because it gives the kids practice tracing a cutting, but because each child gets to choose the colors he/she wants for the clothes so they can customize their scarecrow (and some of them do a little extra customizing as you can see!).  I do have the tracing patterns for the pieces. I scanned them in using my scanner and I'm not too sure about how to load them on here, but if you'd like them, I can email them to you.  Just leave a comment with your email address and I'll send them to you.  Don't forget to link up your fall activities (see below).  This is my first time hosting a linky party and it's sort of bombing.  If you expert bloggers have any tips for me, let me know!  Check back soon for a yummy apple recipe!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Welcome Fall Linky Party

Ok,ok...I know I'm slightly early, but this is my favoritest (yep, that's a first grade word)time of the year. I love, love, love fall! Although, down here, fall really doesn't come until late October or November...I still love it! I love it sooo much, I thought it would be fun to see some of the awesome fall activities you do in your classrooms. So, I'm starting this Fall Activities Linky Party. Now, this is my first linky party, so don't let me down! Your activity can be an art project, math activity, science...really anything as long as it occurs in the fall season (yep, that means Halloween or Thanksgiving too!). One of the things that I just made to use this year is this fun apple basket math station. The kids each get an apple basket and some red, yellow, and green die cut apples. Before you pass out the baskets, program each one with a number based on your student's ability levels. The children can use the apples to model the number and then write an addition sentence. Here's an example:
If you have some kids that need an extra challenge, have them use all three colors:
Once they record one way to make their number, they can clean off the apples and show another way to make the same number.  Here's a recording sheet you can use with this activity:
Apple Basket Addition Recording Sheet

I hope you can use this activity in one of your math stations!  Now, link up and share some of the awesome things you do to celebrate the fall season.  Be sure to check back on Monday for an easy fall art activity!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

American Pride linky party

In honor of 9/11, Sunny Days in Second Grade is hosting an American Pride linky party. I've gone back and forth over the past week deciding whether or not to discuss 9/11 with my firsties. Yesterday, the school showed a video "Remembering September 11" over the network, so I figured it was allright to discuss it with my class. We're starting a study of national symbols next week, so I thought this would be a good time to talk about it (and, I figured they probably couldn't go through the weekend without hearing something about it). One of the things that we'll do next week is to read this book:
This is a wonderful book written by a first grade class.  It mentions the twin towers and what happened on 9/11, but focuses on the positive aspects of the children's lives and how they knew everything would be allright.  We are also going to discuss the pledge and what each word of the pledge means (and what the words really are - you'd be amazed at what first graders say when they say the pledge).  Then, we'll make torn paper flags. 
I usually have my kids tear their paper into smaller pieces and use those to make a stripe (rather than the one long strip shown in this photo).  I also use the die cutter to cut out the stars.  They end up being very pretty and I found this poem that the kids can glue on the back of their flag:

Flag poem

Link up here

Visit Sunny Days

I hope you take time this weekend to remember 9/11. Pray for those who lost loved ones that day and for the everyday heroes who put their lives on the line for our freedoms and our safety.

Friday, September 9, 2011

AR book tub labels

Yeah, I know....I'm a rule breaker. I break the "one post a day rule" from time to time! I made some AR labels using the "Back to School" set from Cheryl Seslar and Scrappin' Doodles. They ended up being pretty cute. Now, I just have to get new ink in my printer before I can print them! I made labels for levels 0 to 3.9. If you'd like other levels (or levels arranged differently), let me know and I'll send you the updated file! Hope someone out there can use these! AR Book Level Labels

Reorganizing the classroom library

This is the first week in a while that I have my lesson plans done by Friday! Usually, I'm sitting at home on the weekend writing lesson plans. I know, yuck, right? This was one of my goals this year, I just hadn't gotten there yet. So I was very excited thinking that I was really going to just relax this weekend. Yeah, right. We've been in school just about 4 weeks now and I really am not feeling my class library organization. I have always organized by theme and AR level. This was allright, but the kids had trouble getting the books back in the right AR tubs. I only had (previously) only 8 tubs for AR books, so they were labeled, for example, 0.0-0.9, 1.0-1.5, etc. The kids really couldn't "get" where to put the numbers that came "in the middle". I tried different labels and cute stickers, but with only 8 tubs, it really wasn''t working. So this summer, I decided to try leveling my books based on their guided reading level and see if that worked better. I mean, it had to. A, B, C is definitely easier than 0.0 - 0.9, right. What I didn't realize is that guided reading and AR are completely different, so my A,B,C bins had a very wide range of AR levels. The kids who were looking for AR books on their level couldn't find one. So, attempt #1 = FAIL. So, this weekend (remember the relaxing one that was supposed to belong only to me?) will be spent reorganizing and rearranging my classroom library. I thought I'd start this afternoon and asked my daughter to pull out all of the AR books while I was speaking to another teacher. Now, my daughter is in 5th grade and is very smart (in the gifted program at our school), so I thought she could take care of this in just a few minutes and, in my mind, they would be neatly stacked in piles for me to organize later. Here's what I found when I came back:
Seriously?  So, the next 10 min. or so were spent putting them into piles so I can go back and spend my Saturday rearranging.  I think I'm going to just put them back arranged by AR level.  I should have enough bins now (I got some new ones over the summer) and I won't put out all of the higher level ones right away.  I think I'll go now and make some cute AR labels.  Check back - I'll post them when I'm done. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sick Days and Subs

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend and, for those of you who just started, a wonderful first day back! I spent some great time with family this weekend, but started feeling yucky on Monday. Today, I went to school (thinking it was just a scratchy throat) and had to leave in the middle of the day. I went to the doctor and found out I had strep!!! UGH! I have a really good class this year, and now I end up sick. So, I had to spend the afternoon writing sub plans which always takes sooo long. I've been using literacy and math workstations, so my plans often change based on what we do daily in our small groups. For those of you who teach mostly in small groups I'm wondering, how do you prepare for a sub? Do you write out very detailed plans? Have a special sub folder? Have premade plans? I'm really looking for something easier, so please let me know what you do to get ready for a sub and for the sub to do when you're out.